She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Browned Butter Birthday Cake

Posted: October 17th, 2009 | Author: bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | 4 Comments »

Birthdays, to me, mean one thing: cake (okay, and champagne).  I know people will make other favorite desserts on birthday, but to me, you can’t have a birthday cobbler or tart, it’s just not right.

I think the reason people look for alternatives is because traditional, yellow or white birthday cake, is kind of boring/tasteless.  But, it’s also tradition, and really symbolizes the occasion.  And since I have a birthday to go to tonight, I decided to try to remedy this.  So, I got out this random cookbook I bought at a used bookstore, where I found a tasty cupcake recipe and adapted it to a cake.

You know how butter smells delicious when you heat it up to cook something in?  This works on that principle.  It’s a pretty basic cake recipe, but heating the butter changes the flavor immensely, and for the better.

First, take a stick of unsalted butter, heat it in a heavy skillet, and cook until it turns dark brown, stirring often.  Pour it into a bowl, cover and chill (this takes a while, you can go off and do something else in the meantime).

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a cake pan.  Use whatever size you want/have, just remember to vary cooking times.  I made a small cake and only a third of the recipe today.

In a medium sized bowl, sift together 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Set aside.

Mix together the browned butter and 1/4 cup shortening.  Then, slowly add in 1 1/4 cups of sugar.  Then, add 3 eggs, one at a time, and 2 tsp vanilla.  Then, alternately mix in the flour mixture and 3/4 cup milk.  Put it in the pan, and bake.  My small pan took 25 minutes, so a bit longer for a large pan.  Just watch it and take it out when it passes the knife test.

For icing, you can also brown the butter first before making a regular buttercream (which tastes good but looks ugly) or just make a plain buttercream, which I did here because I wanted it to look nice and birthday-ey.

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Two Dilemmas

Posted: October 15th, 2009 | Author: bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | 2 Comments »

Today, I will be blogging about my personal culinary problems.  It’s going to be a therapy session.

The first problem: runny icing.  I tried making half moon cookies for the little girl I babysit last week, and I ran into a major problem.  The icing was so runny that it soaked through the cookies and was impossible to work with, even with my attempted quick fix solution of adding extra confectioner’s sugar.  I was irritated, and didn’t have enough time to figure out how to fix the problem.  So, I did some research on what to do when your icing or frosting is runny, so that you, fair readers, will know what to do in a pinch.

Number one – and this should have been a “duh” for me – refrigerate it for an hour or so.  Helps icings and frostings harden up.

Number two – corn starch.  Cheap, easy to find, thickening agent.  Blend that in.  Make sure you blend it good, though, so it doesn’t make lumps.

Number three – adding more powdered sugar does help, but you could make it  go further by halving the icing you’ve made and only adding it to one half.

Number four – not really a solution in this instance, but I read a frosting recipe that calls for marshmallow fluff along with butter, confectioner’s sugar and a dash of milk.  That would probably make a very firm icing good for decorating cakes with flowers, etc.

My second dilemma is more of a request for readers and fellow pretty girls.  As the weather gets chillier out, I am reminded that the holidays are fast approaching.  And, it looks like this year, I’m going to have to make a turkey for the first time in my life, as my dad is having knee replacement surgery and probably won’t be up to the task.  So, I am calling on you, dear friends, to give this baker instructions on how to make a good turkey.  Seriously, let’s remember that I’m the one who makes dessert, not dinner, so I am going to need help over the upcoming weeks!